Government of India National Innovation Council
Today India and the US launched the release of the jointly developed ‘Open Government Platform’ (OGPL) in New Delhi, India. The OGPL is a software platform, which will aim to provide enhanced public access to government data and documents, and spur citizen engagement and interface with the Government. The OGPL combines and expands the best features of the India’s “India.gov.in” and the U.S. “Data.gov” sites.
The Open Government Platform was launched by Shri Kapil Sibal, Hon’ble Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India. This collaborative endeavour was started as part of a series of initiatives announced by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama in November 2010 in Delhi. This initiative has been chaired on the Indian side by Mr Sam Pitroda, Adviser to Prime Minister on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations and on the US side by Mr Aneesh Chopra, former Chief Technology Officer to President Obama. On the US side, the project is now lead by the Chief Information Officer Mr. Steve VanRoekel and Deputy Chief Technology Officer Mr. Chris Vein.
The purpose of the platform is to enhance access and use of government data to foster innovation; improve delivery of government services for interested countries and cities around the world; and promote government transparency, accountability, and public participation. After the launch, the two sides will work on enhancing the scope and increased use of OGPL as the project moves forward, including offering it to interested countries.
While launching OGPL, Hon’ble Minister of Communications and Information Technology Shri Sibal spoke about the impact such a platform would have on improving governance, enhancing accountability and generating greater collaborations between India and the US going forward. Shri Sam Pitroda, Adviser to Prime Minister spoke about the need for democratizing information and improving governance by creating new tools and platforms such as the OGPL. He also spoke about how this effort is a result of leveraging the collective strengths of the two sides and a great example of collaborative working. Mr. VanRoekel and Mr. Chris Vein, joining via video from the White House, also shared how the teams from India and the US (India’s National Informatics Center and the U.S. General Services Administration) have worked together using open source technologies and project management tools to develop this product.
The U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Ambassador Peter Burleigh further said that the Open Government Platform represents a new kind of diplomatic collaboration that benefits the global community. The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake also addressed the press about this U.S.-India collaboration. Ministry of External Affairs Joint Secretary, AMS, Mr. Jawed Ashraf also spoke about the benefits of this partnership for India, the United States, and countries around the world and also highlighted the collaborative nature of this project.
National Informatics Center Director General Dr. B. K. Gairola, spoke about the role of NIC as the technical partner on this project. He also highlighted the Platform’s capabilities and gave an overview of its technical aspects. The India-US OGPL technical team further demonstrated the key features of the OGPL which include:
- The ability to publish government data, documents, and processes from multiple departments within a government
- An internal workflow process for approvals and management of datasets • The ability to create data-rich community spaces around topics of national priorities
- Cloud/ Host-based operation at multiple levels of government, with the ability link data from federal, central, state, district, municipal, and local levels
- Open source architecture to allow software developers to develop applications and new features to view, compare and use Government data